AFTER mourning the loss of her chicken flock to a hungry fox, Elizabeth Brennan decided to put the old grain silos on her property in Mudgee to use. “I wanted to see if I could put chickens in them –but they were too good for chickens,” Elizabeth says.
“I looked out around the location and thought they were a fabulous space. I then thought they would be marvellous to use as glamping-style accommodation.”
At the time she was also looking to support the restoration of the homestead on her 100-hectare property, Melrose Park, which she and husband Patrick purchased four-and-a-half years ago – and the guest silos idea fit that bill.
The property dates back to the 1870s, and in the 1950s it ran as a dairy farm. In the 1990s it was taken over as a deer farm. Elizabeth has kept on a small herd of 20 deer that now roam around, along with a few goats, cattle, sheep, horses and one pig.
They began their silo conversion by emptying out the grain. “There was a small entryway into the silos and I used to get down there with a bucket.”
Next they cut out a large doorway and used corrugated tin from the original homestead to create a door. They filled in the funnel in the floor, and topped the outdoor space with 27 tonnes of gravel to make it fire-pit-friendly.
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There are three silos in total. One houses the guests, with a double bed and cosy pot-belly stove. Many visitors sleep with the door open, and wake to farm animals grazing close by. Another silo contains a kitchen and dining area and the smaller silo has a shower and toilet. Guests pay from $149 per night, with the Airbnb site handling reservations.
The converted bathroom silo at Melrose Park.
It took four months to restore the buildings and the first guests to Mudgee Silos arrived in 2016. Now they’ve also transformed the old cowshed into an event and wedding venue, with a range of other farmstay options as well.
Keeping it local, Elizabeth purchases produce for her guests from nearby farmers.
“For me it’s all about the love of the land and for our neighbours. I’m always keen to work with them to maintain the beauty of the region,” she says.
Successful farmstay diversification
- Corynnia Station in the Riverina rents out a private suite in its 1940s homestead, as well as cottages, and has a private airstrip so guests can jet in.
- If you fancy staying in a teepee on a working American Bison ranch, then Aranyani Bison in Myrtle Creek on the North Coast is the place to visit.
- Alpacas more your style? Eaglewood Alpaca Stud in Murrumbateman near Canberra offers B&B accommodation and tours of the herd.